As we process and mourn the losses of the unthinkable Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy that has affected us both physically and emotionally, we must stay strong especially for the children who were traumatized that day.
It’s difficult to comprehend even the possibility of last Friday’s horrific tragedy in Newtown, CT. Many of us are experiencing both physical and emotional affects as we all mourn the losses from that day and have deep sympathy and condolences for all those that were directly affected including the first responders.
In this time of sadness, we must remain strong especially for the kids who were traumatized. Here are eight tips to help kids deal with trauma:
- Empathetic listening – be empathetic to what the kids have been through. Put yourself in their shoes.
- Be a good listener – listen to your kids both verbally and non-verbally.
- Be honest – be honest and open, but age appropriate. Remember, age is just a number; know the child’s maturity level and how much they can handle.
- Situation is temporary and they are safe – let the child know the situation is temporary and they are doing everything in their power to make sure everyone is safe.
- Allow time for a Q&A – talking out in the open is an important way to cope.
- Healing takes time/comfort as much as you can – it takes time to heal/comfort. Give the kids time to heal and be as warm as possible and comfort them as they heal.
- Try to keep a sense of normalcy and routine. Don’t make any sudden or drastic changes, if possible.
- Watch your own behavior. If your kids see you upset and stressed, they will become more stressed. Kids are visual learners so watch your behaviors.
Diane Lang – Positive Living Expert and psychotherapist – is a nationally recognized author, educator, speaker, therapist and media expert. Lang is extremely mediagenic and offers expertise on a variety of health and wellness topics about creating balance and finding happiness through positive living. Lang offers expertise in multiple mental health, lifestyle and parenting needs. In addition to holding multiple counseling positions, Diane is also an adjunct professor at Montclair State University and Centenary College.